Page tree

What is eTranslation?

1. Overview

eTranslation is a Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) building block. Its main goal is to help European and national public administrations exchange information across language barriers in the EU, by providing machine translation capabilities that will enable all Digital Service Infrastructures (DSIs) to be multilingual. Public administrations, citizens and businesses in the EU will thus be able to use digital services in the language they choose. For example, users of the Online Dispute Resolution Portal are able to access information in languages they do not understand and communicate with their counterparts in their own language. While CEF eTranslation is mainly intended to be integrated into such digital services, it also offers useful stand-alone services for the translation of documents and snippets of text.

CEF eTranslation builds on the previous machine translation service of the European Commission, MT@EC, developed by the Directorate-General for Translation (DGT). MT@EC translation engines were trained using the vast Euramis translation memories, comprising over 1 billion sentences in the 24 official EU languages, produced by the translators of the EU institutions over the past decades.

CEF eTranslation guarantees confidentiality and security of all translated data. Unlike general-purpose web translators, CEF eTranslation will gradually adapt to specific terminology and text types that are typically used in specific contexts, such as tender documents, legal texts, medical terminology and so forth. It will also help reduce the time and cost of translating documents.

 Why is it important? 

The EU now has more than 500 million citizens, 28 Member States, 24 official languages and 3 alphabets.

The harmonious co-existence of many languages in Europe is a powerful symbol of the EU's aspiration to be united in diversity - a cornerstone of the European project. A successful multilingualism policy can open up lifelong opportunities for citizens: it may increase their employability, facilitate access to cross-border services and protection of rights, and contribute to solidarity through enhanced intercultural dialogue and social cohesion.

Article 3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that: 

Citizens have a right to address the official EU bodies in any of the EU’s official languages and to receive a reply in that language.

By making European digital services multilingual, CEF eTranslation is a key enabler for the above principle and a central component of the Digital Single Market.

Next >